How To Survive A Heart Attack At Home
Heart attacks may be life-threatening, but being prepared and informed will help you know how to survive a heart attack at home. Heart attacks may be sudden and intense, but most start slowly with mild pain or discomfort. Identifying heart attack warnings signs, calling 9-1-1 immediately and chewing an aspirin will help you survive a heart attack at home.
- Survive a heart attack at home by knowing the symptoms. Typical heart attack symptoms include chest discomfort, discomfort in other parts of your body, shortness of breath, breaking out in cold sweat, nausea and dizziness/lightheadedness. Chest discomfort may feel like an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest. It may last more than a few minutes or it may come and go. You may even confuse the pain with heartburn. The discomfort may spread to one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Shortness of breath may be with or without chest pain. In some cases, you may experience cold sweats, nausea or dizziness without the other more common signs of a heart attack.
- Fast action will help you survive a heart attack at home. Call 9-1-1 (or your emergency response number) right away and tell the operator you are having a heart attack. If you are home with friends or family, make them aware you may be having a heart attack. Remain calm and do as little as possible. Exertion may worsen the damage caused by a heart attack. Wait for the paramedics to arrive. Paramedics can begin treatment up to an hour sooner than if you arrive at the hospital by car. Patients experiencing a heart attack who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, as well. When you arrive at the emergency room, inform the medical staff you may be having a heart attack.
- Taking an aspirin may help you survive a heart attack at home. Medical experts recommend taking an aspirin as soon as you experience any symptoms of a heart attack. A heart attack occurs when a portion of heart muscle dies after a coronary artery is blocked by a blood clot. Aspirin is a blood thinner that can prevent the formation of blood clots. Taking an aspirin may reduce the amount of damage to the heart muscle during a heart attack. Chew and swallow one adult aspirin (325 mg) as soon as possible. Don’t wait until the paramedics arrive. Chewing or crushing the aspirin gets it into your bloodstream more quickly, within four to five minutes. If you have a heart condition or have experienced a heart attack before, take a nitroglycerin pill. Your doctor may have already prescribed these medications to you.
- Knowing your risk may help you survive a heart attack at home. If you are elderly, obese, a smoker or a heavy drinker or have uncontrolled diabetes, high cholesterol or a history of heart disease, you may be at a higher risk of a heart attack. Talk to your doctor about ways to reduce your risk of heart attack. Healthy lifestyle changes—such as exercising regularly, eating healthy, quitting smoking and reducing stress—may help reduce the chance of a heart attack.
The best advice for how to survive a heart attack at home is to consult your primary doctor. Remember that if you experience a heart attack, the symptoms are likely to appear gradually and may not always be obvious. Don’t confuse chest discomfort with indigestion, but don’t worry if you are wrong. Your health is important and paramedics and doctors understand that. Lastly, make sure you have aspirin at home if you believe you may be at risk of a heart attack.